Memories of Childhood ; Oil bath

What I love about reading is that it takes us into the world of
imagination. That world is sad or happy depending on what
we read. While reading, certain words or characters strike a
chord and take us down memory lane and what Claudio Magris
says in his book, Danube, seems so true.

“ Events which occurred many years ago or decades ago, we feel
to be contemporary, while facts and feelings a month old seem
infinitely distant and erased forever. Time thins out, lengthens,
contracts, forms all but tangible clots or dissolves like fog-banks
into nothing.”
This seems true when I read what my father writes about
his childhood-

“When we were small taking oil-bath was a
very important part of our lives. My mother used
to insist that we take an oil-bath at least once a week.
We rubbed coconut oil on our body and head and
rested for some time in the bathroom. Then,
mother came and poured hot water on our body.
Taking a powder called seege-hudi in Kannada,
she rubbed the body with it and poured some hot
water to remove the oil. As rubbing this directly on
the hair is painful, she used a jelly-like substance
called gompu and rubbed the head with it and seege-hudi.
All the oil on the body was gone! That was oil-bath.

At Hospet, where I spent my childhood, taking oil-bath
was difficult as soft water has to be obtained from outside.
So,we rarely had weekly oil-bath. But, mother insisted
that we have one at least once a month.

When I went to Chennai for my higher studies I was
surprised to find in Loyola College hostel, most of
the students, specially Tamilians, wanted to take oil
bath once a week, specially on holidays. Our hostel
had special bathrooms where hot water was provided.
On payment of some money, bath-oil and seege-hudi
were given. They did not have the custom of using gompu.
On Sundays, there was a lot of rush and one had
to wait for some time.

I had given up taking oil-bath after my
mother passed away. My Tamil friends insisted
on having this at least once a week. They
were surprised that we did not have this custom.
So, they told us the benefits we get from an
oil bath and advised me to take one at least once
a month. But it was only an advice and I did not
take it seriously.”

mgb43-3566

( This photo is of my father and his mother, it was
taken in 1940. She passed away in 1943, when he was only 12.)

By Lakshmi Bhat

I am a person who believes there is not enough darkness in the world to extinguish the light of a small candle. We live in a small place in South India. I love reading, blogging, stitching, traveling, photography, listening to people and many other things which make life so very nice and interesting. Blogging is a fun experience, it has brought me into contact with people in different parts of the world and it is good to read about their everyday life. In spite of the differences there is a sameness which is fascinating. I have learnt and am learning something everyday. I have learnt to write haikus. I enjoy combining the thought and the number of syllables. I have always read books and I was happy to write short fiction. I had thought I would not be able to do so. Stream of Consciousness and photo challenges are fun too. Yes, there is so much in life that is sad and that hurts us. Many a time I wonder why life is so unfair to so many. We all have problems in life but the problems of many seems unbearable. This makes me feel so helpless. It is not possible to help everyone but we can do our bit, we can do something to help some in whatever way we can. I used to go to the Home for the Mentally challenged in our campus twice a week. I have been going there since 2011. The members are an important part of my life. Covid-19 has made it difficult for me to go there regularly. Hopefully I will be able to go there again. There have been many challenges in life and we have faced them with a positive approach. Our grandson and granddaughter have made life so much more richer.

3 comments

    1. Yes it was really sad that he lost his mother so young and we all like it when he writes about her, she becomes someone we know. Oil bath is very good for the skin and health. As coconut oil is indigenous to our place we use it.
      Thanks,
      Lakshmi

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